COVID numbers plummet statewide thanks to vaccines and vigilance

by Jordan Green

They’re going down, down, down – and the numbers aren’t getting higher. Oklahoma’s active coronavirus case counts have been trending downward for weeks, giving healthcare workers signs of hope and highlighting the need for the public to stay safe amid the ongoing pandemic, health officials say.

Coronavirus cases are down by 41% from the Aug. 30 peak, and hospitalizations are down by 28% since Aug. 25, the Oklahoma State Health Department reported on Sept. 27. “With a decrease in overall cases, breakthrough infections and hospitalizations over the past month, combined with the rollout of the booster dose for eligible populations, I’m hopeful that our state will continue to see positive progress in our pandemic response,” Dr. Lance Frye, Oklahoma’s commissioner of health, said Sept. 27.

“We are cautiously optimistic about this downward trend and are thankful for the hard work of Oklahomans across the state that got us here. But it is important Oklahomans remain vigilant to ensure these trends continue.” Health officials continue to encourage vaccination to curb the virus’s spread.

“Data suggests that continued mitigation efforts in Oklahoma have been successful in reducing the spread of COVID-19, especially our vaccination efforts,” Frye said.

“However, there is still work to be done to protect our communities from widespread transmission and the emergence of new variants.”

And unlike coronavirus case numbers, the number of people getting vaccinated against the virus is going up. State officials report that 51% of all Kay County residents over the age of 12 have had at least one dose of the vaccine, and 42.8% are fully vaccinated, according to data released Sept. 25.

More than 70% of all Kay County residents 65 years old and older are fully vaccinated. Vaccines aren’t yet approved for people under the age of 12 except in rare circumstances. More than 1.8 million Oklahomans have been fully vaccinated against COVID-19, and more than 2.2 million Oklahomans have received at least one dose.

The state health department reported Sept. 29 that the state has had 609,737 cases of the virus since the pandemic began, 16,310 of which are active. Statewide, 8,949 people have died from the virus. Kay County has had 6,792 cases of the virus, 169 of which are active.

Officials said 6,477 Kay County residents have recovered from the virus, and 146 have died from it. Blackwell has had 889 cases, with 842 recoveries and 31 deaths. Braman has had 39 cases, with 36 recoveries and one death. Kaw City has had 93 cases, with 85 recoveries and three deaths.

Newkirk has had 560 cases, with 539 recoveries and eight deaths. Ponca City has had 4,931 cases, with 4,710 recoveries and 97 deaths. Tonkawa has had 481 cases, with 450 recoveries and 16 deaths. The state health department does not provide data on coronavirus cases in some of the state’s smallest towns, including Nardin in Kay County.

Stillwater Medical Center – Blackwell reported Sept. 30 that all six of its hospital beds were in use. Four were occupied by patients with COVID-19.

Vaccinations are available for free at some pharmacies and stores across the county, among other locations. For more information on vaccinations, or to schedule a vaccine appointment, visit covid19/vaccine-information/vaccine-faqs.html.